Mumbai City CEO: All ISL franchises in favour of promotion-relegation system

According to speakers at the India Football Forum, the emergence of a single league that unifies the I-League and the Indian Super League will propel Indian football forward.

I-League CEO Sunando Dhar believes a 20-team league is not impossible in India in the next 10 years.   -  B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Asian Football Confederation-FIFA roadmap towards the emergence of a single league that unifies the best of I-League and Indian Super League will propel Indian football forward — this was the key message emerging from football speakers within the country and from global leagues during the Eighth India Football Forum (IFF) held here.

The delegates deliberated on the topic ‘Future of Indian Football Takes Shape’.

Sunando Dhar, CEO of the I-League, said during a panel discussion that he thinks given the size of the country, a 20-team league is not impossible in the next 10 years. Mumbai City CEO, Indranil Das Blah, revealed that the ISL franchises were enthusiastic about a new, bigger ISL with promotion-relegation.

“Contrary to popular belief, all ISL franchises are in favour of promotion-relegation because that’s where the drama is.”

‘Long-term investment project’

He added: “Anyone who invested thinking they’d be profitable or break even in three to five years were badly advised. All our officials were thoroughly briefed on what this is... [the ISL] is a long-term investment project and there will be gains in the future. We are committed to that vision.”

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Blah was speaking at the IFF 2019, organised by SportzPower.

In a recent development, Premier League club Manchester City announced the decision to pick up majority stake in MCFC, the city ISL franchise co-owned by actor Ranbir Kapoor and businessman Bimal Parekh.

Other speakers included Jose Antonio Cachaza, MD, La Liga India; Henry Menezes, CEO, Western India Football Association; and Supratik Sen, CEO, U Sports.

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